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Old 04-29-2012, 06:26 PM
 
48 posts, read 138,080 times
Reputation: 44

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We'll be moving to Madison, Mississippi in less than 2 months. We're really excited about our move but I do worry about tornadoes. I grew up in North Texas and tornadoes are not new to me. I rode one out in a shopping center when I was 17 and it was quite frightening.

When we were looking for homes, I noticed that many of them had tornado rooms. However, the home we are purchasing doesn't have one. We asked the builder about it and he stated that he just didn't think it was necessary (he was building the home for his personal home before deciding to sell it). He stated he would just use the small room under the stairs as a tornado shelter if he thought he needed to seek shelter. However, with all the news the last couple years of these horrific storms, I wonder if that would be enough.

Has anyone had a room enforced in an existing house to use as a tornado shelter? Has anyone on here had one of the pre-fab ones installed in their garage? If we had built from the ground up, no question we would have just had a tornado room integrated into a walk-in closet. But with an existing home w/o one, does anyone have any suggestions or experience?

And yes, I'm a worry wart. Can't help it, I come from a line of worry warts but thankfully each generation is getting a bit better

TIA
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:45 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
11,346 posts, read 7,399,724 times
Reputation: 16952
I've never had one built, but if you have been through a tornado you will not forget it.

There is an outfit who can install a small shelter in an existing garage. It's not fancy, but it is a place where you will not be injured. They can do the complete installation in one day. A couple of days later you can park on it. Kinda neat, I think:
http://http://tswstormshelters.com/installprocess.html (http://http//tswstormshelters.com/installprocess.html - broken link)

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Chattanooga, TN
2,773 posts, read 3,676,401 times
Reputation: 4236
1) I'm not calling your builder a liar specifically, but that line about "building it for my own personal use before deciding to sell it" is a classic line used to help sell "spec" houses. It implies that they put in extra care into the construction, when most likely they built it from the ground up with the intention of selling it. But maybe your guy is the one who is actually telling the truth.

2) Of course a tornado shelter is not necessary, because the house he's selling doesn't have one. If he said it was necessary you wouldn't buy his house. The point is that the seller is working in his best interest, not yours. People who make their living building and selling houses are no more honest than people who sell cars. But statistically and legally, he's right. A tornado shelter is not required by code, and the statistical likelihood of a specific house being hit by a large tornado (F3 or higher... large enough where simply "hiding under the stairs" becomes less effective) is slightly higher than your chances of winning the mega powerball lottery next week.

3) Reinforcing an existing interior room is possible, but to do it right would be fairly expensive. But in reality, anything you do will help. Installing plywood will help protect from missiles. Installing straps will help hold it together. Installing concrete anchors will help keep it from being sucked away.

4) Those shelters-burried-under-the-house like in the picture from Listener are probably the most safety you can buy. You're surrounded by earth and concrete, fully protected from missiles and there's no chance of being sucked away. But make sure you don't park on top of it. Most people wait until the last second to hide in a shelter like that, and having to take the time to find your car keys first could be a killer delay. Also, make sure you have plenty of food, water, and a place to store bodily waste in that hole. Because if your entire house (plus the car in the picture) collapses on top of that door, you aren't going anywhere for a long time. Maybe several days. One issue with the recent tornadoes in Chattanooga is that the storm hit several cell towers so even if they had their cell phone the people trapped by debris couldn't call for help.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:24 AM
 
48 posts, read 138,080 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Listener2307 View Post
I've never had one built, but if you have been through a tornado you will not forget it.

There is an outfit who can install a small shelter in an existing garage. It's not fancy, but it is a place where you will not be injured. They can do the complete installation in one day. A couple of days later you can park on it. Kinda neat, I think:
http://http://tswstormshelters.com/installprocess.html (http://http//tswstormshelters.com/installprocess.html - broken link)
Thanks. I saw this kind while researching and didn't know if it was possible since i have read that cellars are not possible in that region due to the Yazoo clay. This one is definitely more appealing than the ones I saw that just go in the corner above ground.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:52 AM
 
48 posts, read 138,080 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwkilgore View Post
1) I'm not calling your builder a liar specifically, but that line about "building it for my own personal use before deciding to sell it" is a classic line used to help sell "spec" houses. It implies that they put in extra care into the construction, when most likely they built it from the ground up with the intention of selling it. But maybe your guy is the one who is actually telling the truth.

2) Of course a tornado shelter is not necessary, because the house he's selling doesn't have one. If he said it was necessary you wouldn't buy his house. The point is that the seller is working in his best interest, not yours. People who make their living building and selling houses are no more honest than people who sell cars. But statistically and legally, he's right. A tornado shelter is not required by code, and the statistical likelihood of a specific house being hit by a large tornado (F3 or higher... large enough where simply "hiding under the stairs" becomes less effective) is slightly higher than your chances of winning the mega powerball lottery next week.

3) Reinforcing an existing interior room is possible, but to do it right would be fairly expensive. But in reality, anything you do will help. Installing plywood will help protect from missiles. Installing straps will help hold it together. Installing concrete anchors will help keep it from being sucked away.

4) Those shelters-burried-under-the-house like in the picture from Listener are probably the most safety you can buy. You're surrounded by earth and concrete, fully protected from missiles and there's no chance of being sucked away. But make sure you don't park on top of it. Most people wait until the last second to hide in a shelter like that, and having to take the time to find your car keys first could be a killer delay. Also, make sure you have plenty of food, water, and a place to store bodily waste in that hole. Because if your entire house (plus the car in the picture) collapses on top of that door, you aren't going anywhere for a long time. Maybe several days. One issue with the recent tornadoes in Chattanooga is that the storm hit several cell towers so even if they had their cell phone the people trapped by debris couldn't call for help.
While I appreciate your feedback, I do know the story behind this and in all honesty, I do believe the builder that he was building for himself. I can see how some builders would use that as a selling point, but too many things from several different people point to the direction of him telling the truth.

I will take your other points about reinforcing under the stairs and the underground shelter to help us in the decision. I will continue to do research and would love to hear from someone who has actually done one of the two.

THANKS!
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Old 04-30-2012, 12:12 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
11,346 posts, read 7,399,724 times
Reputation: 16952
Quote:
Originally Posted by halcamcin View Post
Thanks. I saw this kind while researching and didn't know if it was possible since i have read that cellars are not possible in that region due to the Yazoo clay. This one is definitely more appealing than the ones I saw that just go in the corner above ground.
It's a fact that we don't have many cellars or basements around here. I'm not convinced that it isn't possible, but I do know that it is not done very often.

The garage type is actually a fiberglass enclosure, so it would be completely watertight unless there is flooding and the whole garage floor goes under water.

We are considering putting one in this year. I will go ahead and park the car on it because we always know when tornado type weather is around, we just don't know exactly where they will hit. On days - and nights - like that we'll park the car outside.

The thing it doesn't address very well is the dreaded middle-of-the-night tornado. The big fancy shelters are fine for spending the night, but I don't know about the small ones. I'm betting that Madison has the newer E911 system where the computer calls you at home in case of alert.

And the sirens around Tupelo wake us up. Then in this neighborhood we call each other and as we wake up we turn our porch lights on - that way no one gets forgotten.

Welcome! And good luck to you.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:29 AM
 
48 posts, read 138,080 times
Reputation: 44
Listener, thanks again for the information. Hubby and I will definitely take a look into this type of shelter. :-)
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